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6 Ways to Evaluate Candidates Beyond the Resume

6 ways to evaluate job candidates beyond the resumeResumes and applications may still be a requirement for your hiring process, but you’ve probably experienced firsthand that candidates can come across extremely well in an interview, but what’s on paper doesn’t match. Or worse — the opposite — you hire an applicant who claimed to have relevant experience only to find out it wasn’t a good fit.

Between made up job titles and exaggerated experience, the resume shouldn’t be your primary evaluation method for hiring the right candidate. Look to these approaches that extend beyond the resume:

Personality Assessments

Personality assessments have long been a part of organization’s employee development programs but more and more companies are incorporating these initiatives into their recruiting processes. A 30 minute interview can only give you a small glimpse into a candidate’s soft and behavioural skills which is where a personality assessments like Plum can give you deeper insight into your candidates.


Another tool HR departments, recruiters, and employers are arming themselves with to select the right candidates is gamification. Gamification is a concept that uses game theory, mechanics and game designs to digitally engage and motivate people. Who’s using gamification? Fortune 500 companies! Google incorporates a software-writing competition into their hiring process while Dominos uses an online game, Pizza Mogul, for job applicants to demonstrate their creativity and design their own pizzas.


Some argue that LinkedIn will eventually replace the need for resumes as it not only shares insight into a candidate’s prior job history but also identifies people they’ve worked with and gives employers a glimpse into how the candidate presents themself online. However, be cautious about using LinkedIn to evaluate your candidates as it’s not a tell-all indicator. Additionally, any candidates using a paid version of LinkedIn will receive a notification when you view their profile.

Use References Properly

Your candidate’s references can be a wealth of information if they’re leveraged properly. Try to avoid asking the standard questions like “What is Sally’s work ethic like?” and dig into more in-depth questions by asking:

  • Was Sally ever promoted within your organization? Why or why not?
  • What is Sally’s personality and sense of humour like?
  • Was Sally a good listener?
  • Why should we hire Sally?

Assign a Small Project

Depending on the type of role you’re hiring for, an effective way to gauge a candidate’s practical experience is to assign a small take-home project. This effort can benefit both the employer and candidate as both parties will get a feel for how the applicant works, and the types of tasks he or she can expect while working for the company.

Get Feedback from an Outsider

Sometimes it can be difficult to separate the resume from the candidate. This is where a third-party recruiter with extensive experience in evaluating candidates can help you choose the right hire, faster.

Let’s chat about your recruiting needs!

This blog was originally published on Worth Recruiting

The Evolution of the Executive Assistant’s Skill Set

evolution of executive assistantsAccording to Merriam Webster online dictionary, an executive assistant is “a person whose job is to support an executive, group, department, or organization, especially by handling administrative tasks (such as data entry, correspondence, filing, and scheduling appointments).”

If you are an executive assistant or your company employs them, you know that the role has evolved from an administrative-focused position to a key cross-functional position in many organizations. Even as early as 5 or 10 years ago, an executive assistant might have been solely responsible for tasks such as:

  • Booking meetings and managing calendars
  • Arranging travel
  • Answering phones
  • Filing paperwork
  • Note taking

Today, the role is much more comprehensive and continues to become a pivotal role in any organization. Here’s what’s expected from today’s executive assistants:

Advanced Technology Skills

The days are gone where the executive assistant is just a power user of the Microsoft Office Suite of programs. Now, executive assistants need to be proficient in all aspects of digital tools, technology, and computing.  They are increasingly relied upon to manage websites, social media accounts, and project management software. There is an app for just about everything now (conferencing, scheduling, invoicing, etc.) and if you can find an executive assistant with advanced knowledge of new tools and apps, you will have a candidate with the potential for remarkable  efficiency.

Red flag: If your executive assistant isn’t familiar with common tools like:

  • FaceTime
  • Skype
  • Google Docs
  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Asana

It may be an indicator that their technology knowledge is lagging behind.  Companies are also increasingly relying on their executive assistant to setup and troubleshoot IT systems.

Cross-functional Leadership

Today’s executive assistant is an experienced and business savvy individual with more often than not, significant education.  They are relied on for leadership, inter-departmental collaboration, and execution of strategy.

CEOs are now relying on their executive assistants to:

  • Not only create presentations but in some cases give them
  • Recognize priorities and schedule items accordingly
  • Have industry-specific skills
  • Be experienced in human resources and accounting functions
  • Get involved with middle management tasks like
    • Purchasing
    • Budgeting
    • Creation of policies and procedures

Independence & Flexibility

You want to hire an executive assistant so that you have less to worry about, not an employee constantly seeking direction.  Today’s business environment is active well beyond the 9-5 window and you need someone who is not only available but also capable of working independently outside of those hours.  An executive assistant that can get things done remotely from home, hotels, etc. on short notice is a great asset.


The best executive assistants also remain up to date with a rapidly changing business environment and take the initiative to seek training when required and even go as far as innovating and improving processes.  They are dedicated to continuous learning and excellence. The business environment can be stressful and you need someone who can not only manage, but thrive under those conditions.  Most importantly, your executive assistant should allow you to hit the ground running in every aspect of your day and let you focus on tasks that create value.


The growth of the internet now means that more data has shifted online, making confidentiality more important than ever. As the role of the executive assistant evolves, these individuals now have access to sensitive information and need to display strong discretion, diplomacy, and professional judgement.  The best executive assistants are an extension of the executive and are trusted and respected as such.

The role of executive assistant has evolved from an entry-level or stepping stone position in the corporate world to a bona fide career with important tasks. As such, the desired skill set for this role requires education, training, and experience.   Employers are recognizing this and top performing companies are hiring candidates with at least 10 years of experience in the role. CEOs that are relying on executive assistants with sub-par skill sets will continue to spend time on non-value added tasks while their competitors are focused on strategy and growth.

Having trouble finding an executive assistant with experience, education, and a modern skillset? We can help. Get in touch with Executive Assistance today.


8 Things Employers Look for on Your LinkedIn Profile

No matter what industry you work in, LinkedIn has become a common source for finding and recruiting talent. But simply having a profile isn’t enough anymore. You need to have an optimized presence that gets you found by recruiters and employers, but also helps you land an interview. Here’s a checklist of what employers are looking for on LinkedIn, so you can build out your profile accordingly:

A Professional Profile Photo

LinkedIn profiles with a photo get 21 times more visits than those without. But does that mean any photo will do? Unfortunately, no. It can be tempting to use a selfie or cropped family photo as your profile picture but this can quickly communicate the wrong message. You don’t necessarily need to invest in a headshot photography session, but it would be wise to ask a family member or friend with a good quality camera to take various photos of you. Ensure you’re wearing a professional outfit, the backdrop is simple and undistracted, and the lighting is good.

linkedin best practices

The Right Location

Recruiters and employers will use the location function during their search so make sure yours is accurate. If you’re looking for work in a specific region, consider updating your location to that particular city. This might be helpful if you live in a remote region but can easily commute or access public transportation to a larger city for your job.

Connections in Common

It’s hard to know who your potential employer is going to know on LinkedIn, but if you have connections in common, you’ll likely have a leg up against competing candidates. The more present you are on the platform and the more networking you do, the greater the chances will be that you’ll know someone in common.

A Relevant Headline

Your headline is what appears under your profile photo and is primarily what LinkedIn crawls when someone enters a search on the platform. It’s ultimately what helps employers decide to click your profile and is your first opportunity to make a good impression. Use these tips to optimize your LinkedIn headline and land the dream job you’re looking for.

Keep it Simple

Even though you might be tempted to make up a creative headline like “Office Ninja” or “Maestro of Mayhem”, it could be affecting your ability to get hired. If an employer or recruiter is looking for a new employee, they’ll likely use more generic keywords. Be sure to use those in your headline if you want to be found. Research how recruiters and employers are naming their positions by reviewing current job postings in your field.

Let Your Network Know You’re Looking for Work

Make the best use of your headline by telling recruiters and employers you’re currently seeking a new opportunity. However, be aware that if you’re currently employed, your existing boss may see your headline (even if you’re not connected!). If you’re in between jobs, including phrasing like “Seeking new opportunities” in your headline will get you noticed by employers.

linkedin headline best practices

An Enticing Summary

The summary portion of your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to sell yourself. Think of it like your elevator pitch. Write your summary with the intention of making your profile stand out beyond your job experience. Include compelling points about your achievements and skills that would entice an employer to reach out. Be sure to keep it concise and always ask a friend to proofread for you.

PRO TIP: Browse your “competitor’s” profiles in other regions. Take a look at other individuals with a similar headline to yours and benchmark their summaries. Just be sure you don’t copy! Your summary should be a reflection of your personal experience and writing style.

Honest Recommendations

You can do everything in your power to sell yourself, but a past employer or colleague’s recommendation speaks much louder. Reach out to your peers and request LinkedIn recommendations. Don’t shy away from politely asking if they’d comment on a specific skill you demonstrated that’s relevant to your position.


Similar to recommendations, endorsements are a great way to show validation from your peers as it relates to specific skills. Some say endorsements can actually impact your ability to appear in LinkedIn searches. One of the best ways to get more endorsements is to repay the favour! Endorse past co-workers and they’ll likely provide a few in return.


In addition to keeping your job history up to date, it’s important to show employers that you’re active on LinkedIn. Why? For starters, if they see value in you and your profile, it helps to know that you’re actively checking the platform and will respond to a private message. Additionally, it skyrockets your chances of getting found if you’re consistently present by sharing content, commenting on your connection’s posts, endorsing others, and joining groups. One of the best ways to get found on LinkedIn is by writing an original blog post within the platform (LinkedIn Pulse).

If you aren’t using LinkedIn to find your dream job, get started! Even applying for a position often prompts employers and recruiters to find you on LinkedIn.

Still looking for your perfect career? Check out our latest openings here.


7 Ways to Streamline Your Interview Process

streamline interview processThe pressure is on to fill a position in your organization. You’re racing the clock to find a candidate as quickly as possible while ensuring they’re a good fit with your company culture. And if you’re like most HR professionals, you probably can’t stand doing interviews. They’re tedious, time consuming, and you’ll likely return to 15 new emails in your inbox after each one.

Recruiting a new candidate doesn’t need to be a headache. Use these tips to streamline your interview process:

Avoid Saturated Job Boards

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by job boards like Indeed or Monster, you’re not alone.The 2017 Annual Recruiting Survey indicated that 35% of recruiters have only had some success using job boards. Another study showed that 70% of employers feel they receive too many applicants from job boards and 59% don’t have the resources to follow up with every job board applicant.

Not only are job boards becoming inundated with listings, many of them are also full of ads. You can have a spectacular job description that hooks the candidate and demonstrates the value you offer to employees, but it’ll get buried in the sea of postings. Additionally, sifting through the dozens of unqualified resumes from more general community forums like Kijiji or Craigslist can be a waste of time (and not to mention frustrating!).

Save yourself the hassle and skip the job boards. Look to the following method to find ideal candidates, or partner with a search firm that has access to extended networks of specialized talent.

Leverage Your Network

Word-of-mouth is one of the most influential types of marketing and sometimes, finding a job candidate works the same way. Getting a referral from someone you know and trust allows you to ask pointed and honest questions about their experience with the candidate  and what value they may bring to yours. These are types of questions you can’t exactly ask job seekers during an interview.

Tap into your LinkedIn connections, call up past colleagues, or talk to close family and friends that might have some leads for the position you’re hiring for. You never know who they might know!

Pre-screen Candidates

You know that resumes don’t always tell the full story. Rather than jumping straight into interviews, streamline the process by setting up 15 minute pre-screening phone calls with the candidates on your short list. This will allow you to communicate details about the position, filter out any qualified individuals, and gauge his/her seriousness about the position.

Don’t have time to pre-screen job candidates? This is one way an executive search firm helps.

Block Out Time in Your Calendar

Managing your time effectively can help alleviate the stress that goes into interviewing. A great way to be productive is to use time blocking. Create events in your calendar with an alert, just as you would for a meeting.

Schedule blocks for:

    • Pre-screening calls (15-20 minutes each)
    • Meeting with senior executives to discuss potential candidates (30 minutes)
    • Face-to-face interviews (30 minutes each)
    • Reference checking (30 minutes per candidate)

Involve Senior Executives Early On

When hiring for an executive assistant position, or filling a role that will report directly to senior staff members, it’s crucial that you solicit their input early on. They may have feedback on your shortlist, perhaps their requirements may have changed, or they may be able to identify any red flags.

Ensure that all resumes on the shortlist cross the senior staff member(s) desk prior to conducting interviews and ask that they add notes to each resume or set up a short meeting to review potential candidates.  Once all interviews are complete, meet with your senior executives again to get their input.

Create Interview Templates

Taking an hour to develop templates to use during interviews will save you a great deal of time in the long run.

Set up a spreadsheet with two columns: one for key questions to ask candidates and another to jot down notes during interviews. Print out several copies to grab before you head into interviews.

Be sure to include questions that are specific to the role you’re filling, rather than creating a single template for all job interviews. Try to avoid asking any questions that were included in the application process. This will demonstrate to the candidate that you’ve taken the time to think about what you’ll ask during the interview and how it will ultimately help your team make the decision.

Take Your Time

Even though you might be pressed for time to fill the role, try to slow down and be mindful of the decisions you’re making. Your senior executives will be much more satisfied if you find perfect candidate a few days late rather than selecting the wrong individual on time. The costs of hiring the wrong candidate can add up very quickly.

Working with a recruitment agency that specializes in the type of role you are trying to source saves you time, money, energy, and ensures you’re hiring the right candidate. Contact us today to discuss your talent acquisition needs.

Is Your Job Offer a Scam? 10 Red Flags to Look For

job offer scam red flagsScammers are finding sneaky, yet creative, ways to steal from innocent job seekers everyday. If you’re not aware of some of their latest ploys, it can be extremely easy to fall into their traps. Job seekers need to be armed with the right information in order to prevent getting scammed. First, let’s define what a job scam is so you can fully understand how the scammers work.

What is a Job Scam?

A job scam is when someone poses as an employer or recruiter, offering employment in exchange for an individual’s confidential information (which is used for identity theft) or a sum of money masked as a cost of accepting the new position.

Where are Job Scammers Lurking?

Job scammers often solicit applicants to scam from inconspicuous sources like legitimate job boards, social media, and even on employer’s websites.

So while you might think you’re privy to spotting online scams, they’re often much trickier to identify. Watch out for these red flags to avoid getting scammed (and help you get closer to finding a legitimate career!):

No Interview Process

Job scammers are only interested in obtaining your personal information or money and not concerned with getting to know you and assessing your skills. They’ll typically fast track the interview process and even omit the usual steps a corporate recruiter or HR Manager would follow. If shortly after applying for a position you’re offered the job (with few questions asked), you might be on the brink of being a victim of a job offer scam.

No LinkedIn Profile

A reputable recruiter, HR Manager, or corporate executive could be anti-social media, but they’ll still have a LinkedIn profile. Do a quick search for the individual who has offered you the position. If you’re having trouble finding their profile, make a note that it could be a scam.

They’re Asking for Your SIN

According to Service Canada, under no circumstances should you be required to provide your Social Insurance Number (SIN) on your application, during the interview process or before you are hired. And while it’s not illegal to ask for this information, it’s certainly not mandatory. Be mindful of when the recruiter is asking for your SIN and inquire how it will be used.

They Ask for a Money Transfer

A potential employer asking for you to pay them before you start is an obvious red flag.  In this scenario, cease correspondence immediately.

The Job Posting is on a Buy-and-Sell Website

Be wary of job postings on sites such as Craigslist or Kijiji. While many reputable employers do leverage these platforms to find candidates, there are many unreputable employers posting jobs as well. The websites are free to post on, giving scammers an opportunity to reach people at no cost. The poster can also remain anonymous through Craigslist or Kijiji, making it more difficult to trace a scam.

The Salary is Too Good to Be True

If the advertised wage is unrealistically high and a focal point of the posting, chances are it is a scam. Scammers attempt to draw victims in with attractive compensation promises.  Legitimate job postings will focus on the specific skill set that the candidate should possess and the tasks they will be expected to execute. In a legitimate posting, a salary or wage range may be included much further down on the posting, or not at all.

Unorthodox Method of Payment

Some job scams are money laundering schemes in which the ‘employee’ is sent a sum of money and instructed to distribute it to several different recipients but retain a portion as payment.  No legitimate employer would ever ask you to pay their bills using your personal account as a distribution hub.

Additionally, some job scammers will offer to pay the employee with different types of digital currencies, like Bitcoin. While some may be comfortable with this type of payment, it’s subject to fluctuating valuations which could mean you’re earning less than promised.

Unprofessional Emails

Most legitimate HR Managers or recruiters will take the time to ensure communication with candidates is professional, free from typos, and easy to understand. If the emails you’re exchanging with a potential employee are chock full of errors or vague, be cautious of these opportunities. Also be mindful of the time the emails are sent. While working around the clock may be the norm for a reputable HR Manager or recruiter, emails that come through in the middle of the night could indicate you’re communicating with someone across the globe and not actually at the company you’re seeking employment with.

Personal Email Address

If your potential employer is using a Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail email address, it could be a red flag that the job is a scam. A reputable business will have an email address that matches their domain. Look for addresses like humanresources@thecompany.com or a non-personal email address.

Company Has Little Presence on Google

If you’re feeling wary about the job posting or offer, a quick Google search should help you decide if it’s a scam or not. A company with very little presence could indicate that it’s not a real company at all. Look for a company website, social media profiles, a Google Business account, directory listings, and a Glassdoor page.

Still not sure about a job posting you’re interested in, or the interview process seems “off”? Make a checklist of each of these red flags and ultimately, go with your gut.

For a trusted source of Executive Assistant positions, bookmark this page.

Executive Assistant Salaries: Maybe It’s Time for a Career Change

toronto executive assistant salaryWhen you think of an Executive Assistant, what do you picture? Probably a person sitting behind a desk with a notepad and stapler. Well, things have changed since the “Mad Men” era and that visual isn’t quite as accurate anymore. The role has expanded far beyond administrative duties and now, Executive Assistants even play a role in larger project management and steering the direction of the company.

Not only are the tasks evolving, according to Glassdoor, the average entry-level Executive Assistant salary in the Toronto area is $56,549. And while it’s a little more difficult to get an accurate range for Personal Assistants in Toronto, this is a similar role which is also becoming a more in-demand position with growing responsibility and salary.

So if you’re starting to think a career as an Executive Assistant (EA) or Personal Assistant (PA) is a path you’d like to explore, here’s what you need to know.

The Skills You’ll Need to Be an Executive or Personal Assistant

Organizational, communications, time management, and event planning skills have been pretty standard skills that EA and PAs need in order to get hired. But as the role changes and expands, the skills you’ll need to be an effective EA are growing as well. Here’s what the top employers are looking for:

Leadership skills

As EAs and PAs take on more responsibility and participate in strategic project management, they’ll need to be able to take initiative and delegate tasks effectively. Leadership experience will be key in seeking an Executive Assistant or Personal Assistant position.

Teamwork skills

EAs and PAs often support one or two individuals in a company, but working on larger projects requires them to collaborate with other departments and functions. To get hired, candidates should be able to show employers examples of cross-functional projects they’ve worked on with success.

Advanced computer skills

As technology advances, companies invest in new platforms and tools to help them streamline the business and become more efficient. Many companies are even developing in-house software tools. This requires EAs and PAs to be very well-versed with computers and software and have the ability to learn new systems quickly.

How to Land a Career as an EA

The Executive and Personal Assistant job landscape is competitive. You need to stand out from the rest. In addition to brushing up on the skills mentioned above, use these tips to help you find and get hired for an EA or PA position.

Amp Up Your Social Media Profiles

Recruiters and employers time is valuable. To save time and get a more accurate snapshot of applicants, they often look to LinkedIn and other social media platforms to get more information. So make sure your profiles are professional, complete, match what’s on your resume, and are not private.

Get Certified

If going back to college or university isn’t an option, consider a certificate program. The Advanced Certificate for the Executive Personal Assistant (ACEPA) offers an intensive 5-day program which would look excellent on a resume.

Master Your Email Skills

Your email application is your first and only opportunity to make a positive first impression. Essentially, it’s the ‘make or break’ of your application. Even if you’re communicating with a recruiter, it’s important to be professional and pay attention to the details in the job description. Recruiters are always analyzing candidate’s emails to identify a skills match for their clients (employers).

Get More Email Tips for Job Seekers Here.

Look in the Right Places

Not all EA and PA positions are equal. Some will offer a lower salary, some companies may have a poor employee satisfaction rating, and some may undervalue your worth. Find a recruiting company that specializes in Executive and Personal Assistant positions that works with the top employers. That way, when a job is posted, you know it’s a great job.
Ready to consider a career as an Executive or Personal Assistant? Take a look at the latest EA and PA job listings to see more detail into what the career entails.